Charles Abela, David Dowling, Jerome D’Rozario, Batsirai Maringehosi and Alan Skofic will be ordained to the permanent diaconate by Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, on Saturday 10 December, at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta.
Ahead of his ordination, Batsirai spoke to Catholic Outlook about his vocational story and how he hopes to live out his new ministry.
Married to Charity for 27 years
Parishioner of Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, St Marys
On parish placement at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, St Marys
Catholic Outlook: When did you consider the permanent diaconate?
Batsirai Maringehosi: 2014
CO: What called you to discern a vocation to the permanent diaconate?
BM: The feeling and desire to serve God in one’s heart has a great impact in their life. That desire brings in a sense of belonging and a sense of duty. With that feeling, you ask yourself, “What does God want me to do?” It makes you available and ready to do God’s work whenever called to do so. You are always on the lookout for ways of responding and you begin to listen more to His voice. All this draws you closer to the one you want to serve. It is that desire which pushed me to choose to become a deacon. I felt that this role will go a long way in drawing me closer to God and help me to serve Him more. It is a role that is very much connected to the Word of God.
Also, after many years serving as a catechist, acolyte and Christian community leader, I guess my hunger to experience God grew.
CO: What has the experience of your formation journey been for your wife?
BM: It has been a very eventful, but fulfilling journey for me, my wife Charity and our children. The knowledge I have gained so far from my academic studies is invaluable. It opened me to the richness of our Catholic faith and is empowering.
The diocese formation Saturdays played a huge part in my spiritual journey. They provided a rare opportunity for me and Charity to journey together, not just spiritually, but journey together in the formation to diaconal ministry. The discussion topics have impacted our life as a couple in a very good way, as was the Formation Retreats and Formation Weekends. The spiritual interactions between the two of us increased, the same with the children. It is not always smooth sailing though. Some days are diamond, and some days are stone. There are high moments and there are low moments. The fight to balance academic work, parish work, your occupation and family time may sometime become unbearable. But because of the love of God, the bond developed through the call, just the thought of leaving formation would hurt you more. You just must rely on your faith, dedication, commitment, and prayer. The interesting thing is that the deep inner joy generated by your intimate relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ will always transcend the low moments created by the setbacks.
CO: How will you hope to carry out your ministry once you are a deacon?
BM: I am very much interested in evangelisation and liturgy. I believe the Church needs “intra-evangelisation” (for lack of a better word), or should I say evangelisation within the Church. A church is powerful, stronger, united, and alive when its members journey together. This way, she (the Church) makes God visible to the world. Members should evangelise to one another while the one body (the Church) evangelises to the world. I would be interested in ongoing formation programs, retreats, missions, bible studies, youth programs, young adult programs, works of mercy, etc.
CO: Are there any aspects of diaconal life that you are looking forward to?
BM: Apart from participating in the organising of ongoing formation programs, retreats, missions, bible studies, youth programs, young adult programs, works of mercy, I am looking forward to continued growth in faith through prayer and service.
CO: How would you describe the community of the permanent diaconate in the Diocese of Parramatta?
BM: The community of the permanent diaconate is a wonderful big family. Always there for each other, sharing life experiences, sharing meals, praying together and helping each other grow in faith. It provides such a good environment that allows the relationships between the deacons and their wives to flourish.
CO: How important will the day of your ordination be to you and your family?
BM: I am looking forward to the day of ordination. I have mixed emotions, just the thought that I am going to serve God in a new way, that I was called by God to serve, is very humbling.
CO: Who would you like to thank for helping you get to this point?
BM: I give thanks to the Lord for His love. Special thank you to Bishop Vincent Long and the Diocese of Parramatta for all the support, Fr Wim Hoekstra and Deacon Tony Hoban for the guidance, the Diaconate community for the friendship and Charity my wife and the children for journeying with me.
CO: Do you have any advice to men wishing to become deacons?
BM: To men wishing to become deacons, do not hesitate, there is wonderful support from the Bishop and the diocese. The community of the permanent diaconate will journey with you. The formation program is very spiritually enriching and has such a positive impact to your family.
CO: Any other comments you wish to make?
Comments from Charity Maringehosi: When we started this diaconate formation journey, I fully supported Batsirai’s discernment. By attending formation sessions, I experienced spiritual growth. I gained some deeper knowledge and understanding of the Catholic faith. This has given me a much richer appreciation of the liturgy.
Our marriage has been enriched through attending formation classes, shared experiences, discussions and retreats.
Before this diaconate journey, I didn’t know of the Liturgy of the Hours. Now I do and I pray these prayers of the church frequently. We openly share our faith regularly. Through the grace of God, I’m looking forward to continuing spiritual growth, love of each other and love of God.
The Mass of Ordination to the Permanent Diaconate will be held on Saturday 10 December at 10.30am at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta.
The Mass will be livestreamed on the St Patrick’s Cathedral Parramatta YouTube page here.